Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lovely weather

It rained all of yesterday so I made friends with an Aussie girl and we walked in the park in the rain to a contemporary history museum and then wiled away the rest of the afternoon and evening in various Ljubljanian cafes, chatting with each other and locals. Today Im going to see about some caves.

Monday, July 30, 2007


I made it to Ljubljana.... I got here late last night, and since the hostel I wanted to stay at was booked I figured I would just stay at the cheaper university dorms near the train station since I got in so late I was just going to sleep anyway. I quite accidenatly fell in with some Belgians while searcihng for this hostel and we ended up and some other university dorms farther away. I was so tired by this point and was given a room in the last dorm, up 5 flights of stairs but when I got there there was no free bed! I went back to the reception full of righteous indignation. It's imposible, said the man at reception, pointing to the computer screen. AS if computers never made a mistake! WEll, it worked out all right for me in the end because I got my own room for the dorm price, 9 €, and I slept like a baby. I checked out this morning, the Belians were grumbling about their room and wanting to go somewhere else too, and made the long walk to the city center in the rain, finding refuge along the way in a local cafe where the elderly were having their morning pivas and slivovicas. Now I am in the Alibi hostel, which is more expensive but much cosier and freindlier. I would rather stay in a nicer, central place and spend less on food or something. If its still raining I'll go see the musuem of contemporary history, if not jsut wnader around the town. I am dissatisfied with LP, I just had a look at some one's Rick Steves and it has a lot more on the hitory of the place. Of course Rick Steves hasm't got a Eastern Europe guide book... I suppose it is economy of space going hand in hand with economy of information.

I was a little disappointed with Pula. I think it was nice to be able to spend some time on the beacha nd swimming... I miraculously escaped sunburn by prolific application of sunscreen which has now made my skin break out, but that is nothing new... It was nice that the hostel was right on the beach but annoying to be 2 miles away from town. And the water was nice but the beach was full of rather sharp rocks. I suppose for better beaches one must go further south in Croatia, but Pula was on the way. Bulgaria, I think will be nicer and cheaper. The buses only ran half an hour and was quite expensive as far as buses go. About $2. So I ended up walking most of the time in the heat. There wasnćt much to see or do, onlz the amphitheatre, which was nice but not THAT nice. One fo my finnish freinds expressed surpise that as a histoian I wasnćt more imporessed by this really old building. I explained that I find places where events of historical significance took place much more interesting than stuff that is just old. I'm not an archilogist!

Anyway I really like Ljubljana so far and I think I will want to stay longer than I will be able to... I should have been in this region 5 years ago! I must get to Romania where things are affordable. I am tired of eating salami sandwiches and pasta with tomato sauce.

spell check isn't working. sorry for your pain. At least I am making an effort to use the y key instead of z.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Pula is nice but there isnćt much to do. I have been hanging out with two Finnish girls. Thez are going to Ljubljana tomorrow but I am going today.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Under the Istrian Sun

I made it to Pula, deciding to trust my luck, as I said in my last post, but not being very trustful. I was so paranoid that I would get off at the wrong local bus stop or that there wouldn't be space at the hostel. I didn't and there was. The hostel is right on the beach. It didn't take me long to get reacquainted with my old friend the Adriatic. Its so salty that you can float for hours with zero effort. I wonder if anyone has ever drowned by falling asleep while floating in the Adriatic.

En Route

I'm going to Pula today. I shelled out tons of money to send and email to a hostel and wcheck to see if they responded, but they haven't. I considered going to Ljubljana becasue I'm not sure of a spot, but decided to risk it. There are always the old ladies at the train station, maybe I will meet someone to split the cost of a room with, and I could really use a few days at the beach. Venice has been really nice, but it's very hot and unlike Bakersfield there is not air conditioning everywhere. Plus you have to walk. Anyway I am taking the train/bus because it's much cheaper and I get to see Trieste.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hi Bye

internet in venice is ridiculously expensive... like almost everything else. itàs very nice here, though.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


I worked really hard and paid a lot of money for internet in order to upload all of my (good) photos to facebook (since yahoo photos has gone kaput). It took so long. I hate to think how long it will take me to do the rest two months from now! Here are links:






Thursday, July 19, 2007

Just a quite post to let you all know I am still alive, back in krakow and on to london tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Queue jumping is the national pastime

Well, Lviv has been interesting. I will have to tell you all about it some other time. I am taking an early morning train back to Krakow then Friday an early flight back to London. Starting to get really excited for Harry Potter!!

Monday, July 16, 2007


what a place to come to! I survived the bus ride, barely, now I'm off to explore this remotest part of europe.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Killing time in Warsaw

Here is what I have done:
Climbed the tower of St Anne's church
explored the old town
walked the royal way
visited chopin's heart in the church of the holy cross
walked walked walked.
probably some other stuff I forgot about
met up with crazy girls from gdansk
went to bed early!

Bought my ticket to lviv (this was a huge ordeal)
Went to the warsaw uprising museum which was really cool. I wanted to buy some reproduction propaganda photos or some postcards comparing the destructed with the reconstructed old town, but they didn't have any so I bought one with a soldier holding a kitten instead. Very nice. A lot of women particiapted in this uprising, might be an interested research topic if it has not already been done.

Some polish guys adopted me while I was trying to buy my bus ticket to Lviv... It was only available at this bus station 5 km from the center of town, bad enough I have to go there again to get the bus but I wanted to make sure I had the ticket! Well, they were very helpful but worried about me travelling to Ukraine. "It's Eastern Europe, you know..." I had to laugh and remind them that Poland is Eastern Europe too. "Yes but we are part of the European Union." As if that chanegs everything! I am actually very excited for Ukraine becuase I think everything will eb really cheap and Lviv sounds so nice. Finally I am going to an up and coming place before everyone else gets there and makes it so touristy. Not that I didn't love Krakow but the huge coach tours don't do much for ambiance.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

warsaw has been a bit anti-climatical... maybe because of all the walking. I'm sure I'll feel better about it tomorrow. I'm taking the night bus to Lviv, assuming I can get a ticket, instead of the train because it is 1/3 the price and I won't have to change twice. ugh bus...


I had a really great time in Gdansk visiting historical sites such as the shipwayrd where the 1980 solidarity strikes took place and Westerplatte where WWII started. It's a really beautiful town; they did a great job rebuilding it. I also went to Sopot, a sea resort just outside of Gdansk. My holiday is rather unfortunatley timed, however; it has been rainy these last few days and will get very hot this weekend, when I am far away from the sea.

At the hostel I meant these crazy girls, one polish one american, and I came with them on the cheap train to Warsaw, arriving last night. I am meeting up with them later today, in the mean time going to go site seeing in the old town and royal way. Two days to see Warsaw! I am taking an overnight train to Lviv tomorrow night. Hurrah for not needing a visa!

Sorry for the lack of posts, the bad thing about all this free internet at hostels is that there is always someone waiting and I feel guilty taking a long time to write a post, so I usually just check my email and get off. And I am too cheap to go spend $1 on the internet cafe! WEll, I have been living on a very strict budget, less than $40 a day which is like 30 euros. I don't know how long that will last once I leave Poland, howver; for example the train from Ljubljana to Budapest is 40 euros for the reduced price! However I am hearing that Romania is even cheaper than Poland so maybe I will be able to make up for it there. Better to go to these places while they are still cheap, I figure. But I am not making too many decisions yet, I like being free in my itenirary and able to do exactly as I like and change my mind as often as it occurs to me to do so. That is, I think, the main benefit of traveling alone.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I made it safely to Gdansk, despite the fact that I was convienced I would be robbed or worse on the overnight train. So don't worry, worriers. I had to force my way into a compartment because all the others were full but the occupants were relatively graceful about it and I slept pretty good for being crammed onto a train. The bathroom was pretty bad but what can you expect. I managed to only go once and hold it till I got off, despite the fact that the train was an hour late. I don't know why I expected it would be exactly ontime.... This is Eastern Europe after all! haha. Anyway I am getting settled into my second choice hostel and I think I will take a shower and go grab a bit and explore the city! Maybe join some anti-communism movements, I dunno...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Short update: Today I went to the Salt mines. Yesterday I went to Auschwitz. Tomorrow I am going to Gdansk.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Suddenly everything is in Polish

I made it to Krakow practically despite myself, had a shower for the first time in three days, and am really looking forward to a full night's sleep for the first time in a week tonight! I have lots of observations to make but I don't really feel like it when there is a city waiting to be explored, and I don't know how long this enthusiasm will last.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Well I made it to London. Apparantly the piece of crap phone I bought doesn't work over here after all so don't send me a text message cause I won't get it. I'm planning on buying another cheap one in poland hopefully with better luck this time. I met Brendan at the tube station and he helped me carry my stuff to storage then we got lunch. I have spent the last few hours exploring stomping grounds old and new. Soon i am heading off to stansted and i am soo tired I think i might actually sleep.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

At the airport

waiting waiting waiting . I really have nothing novel to say. I've had a great time since I left Bakersfield and all the franticness of getting ready behind (although my goodbye party was lots of fun too!), relaxing at the hotel and having fun at the races... It was great to see everyone one last time and Pat and Alan dropped me off at the airport and helped me sneak on a heavier bag than I am allowed, I hope. I was going to make a long post about my packing technique but that didn't happen. I'll let you know what works and what doesn't after the fact. Praying to get a sympathetic checker-iner worked for me, I told the guy I was getting a PhD and those were all my books and he left the fact that my bags were 1.5 kilos overweight slide. This is a disorganized post from a disorganized mine, sorry. I'm meeting up with Leonard's friend Brendan after I drop my stuff off at a safestore tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

White on White [on leaving]

Well, I am officially visa-fied. I really think I was psyching myself out over nothing, after reading online about how anal and tough they are. I was sooo paranoid. I went last night to Kinkos to take my picture and the lady said she'd had someone say their picture in a white shirt was unacceptable because of the white background (I was wearing a white shirt). I didn't think the consulate would care about my shoulders but I went home to change just to be on the safe side. I brought a whole folder full of stuff, bank statements going back three months for all my accounts, copies of my loan application, something about the house, every letter my school had ever sent me… I'd read not to even bother applying until you had all your loans approved and everything, but mine aren't processed yet, so I was really worried they would say no, I don't have enough money. The woman just took a cursory glance at the top of the pile of bank statements I handed her and asked how much the loan I had applied for was for. Ta dum! So it was no big deal. But better to err on the safe side. I wasn't the only one, there was one girl who had a letter of support from her mother notarized. I got there about 40 minutes early and I was the last appointment so I didn't get my interview till noon. But I sat reading and chatted with a girl who is going to do her undergrad at St Andrews for a while, so it was fine. In between the interview and picking up my visa-fied passport I went to Santa Monica to buy a sink plug at REI.

I came up with a clever way to use up all the blank cds I found… I'm making a travel mix to give as a party favor at my bon voyage tomorrow night. As well as the cds I found the most incredible amount of stuff I thought had disappeared when Pat was here Wednesday helping me pack up all my stuff. Kyle helped me move it all into storage, I don't know where I would be without them, probably dead. I found a missing flying fox temple balm, a bag I thought I had gotten rid of, my missing tennis shoes, my old passport! Which it turned out I didn't need for my visa application.

I'm slowly emptying my inbox by replying to all the emails that have been sitting there forever. I imagine if I had left as early as I wanted to I would have left a lot of things undone. As it is I am feeling very frantic about leaving and maybe because I am so busy a little ambiguous about it, too. I suppose it is more healthy than just being completely relieved to take off, opposition in all things etc, but probably comes from being tired more than anything else. Too tired to feel excited, though I know I am excited. Am I doing the right thing? (What else is there to do? But really, I can't imagine anything I'd rather.) Won't I be lonely on my own? I've been let down recently in so many ways, big and small, that it will be a relief to be on my own and not let anyone else, other than myself, have the opportunity to let me down for a while.